Video Games as a Coping Mechanism

iibp-admin Anveshan, Issue 1

Every one of us must have been allured by the tempting graphics and the instant gratification provided by the video games. They were designed for the sole purpose of entertainment which appealed to the young population. With the advancement in technology, the focus shifted from entertainment to other reasons why people started playing video games.

Imagine that you have the power to travel to alternative realities. In one of the realities, you are a warrior, fighting zombies, saving the world from harmful creatures. In another, you can build your own city, habitat people, earn money, and the job of your choice.

Contrastingly, the commonplace routine that we live daily with a little thrill and adventure. Therefore, virtual reality is so appealing to most people that sometimes people find it irresistible to avoid playing video games.

Video games bridge the gap between the discrepancy faced by an individual’s real self and ideal self. It is not surprising that video games give people access to the place where they find themselves more skilled and confident. Thus, people who have low self-esteem and face rejection may cope up by playing video games. Various researches have provided evidence for the use of video games as a coping mechanism.

People are often found to dedicate more time to playing video games as a way to manage anxiety and stress as it enables them to visualize themselves differently and to seek pleasure in their daily lives.

In addition, work-related exhaustion and the use of video games as a recovery has a positive association. People receiving low social support are commonly found to use video games as a buffer to stress experienced at work and in day-to-day life. An individual’s coping style also determines the tendencies to use games for recovery.

The ones with emotion-focused coping style and avoidance coping styles are more likely to indulge in video games as a way to cope in comparison to the people with problem-focused coping style.

Playing video games has various benefits – stress reliever, improving one’s mood, escape from reality, finding social connection – but at the same time, it has drawbacks – excessive use, unhealthy coping, social withdrawal. While video games may provide a way to escape from life stressors, we need to understand that a healthy coping mechanism is required to manage the problems of daily living.

References:

  • (2019, December 10). Are Video Games a Coping Mechanism or Problem Behavior? Foundations Asheville. https://foundationsasheville.com/blog/are-video-games-a-coping-mechanism-or-problem-behavior.
  • B. Allen, Johnie & Anderson, Craig. (2018). Satisfaction and frustration of basic psychological needs in the real world and in video games predict internet gaming disorder scores and well-being. Computers in Human Behavior.
  • Gentile, D. (2018, October 25). Playing video games to cope with anxiety may increase risk for addiction • News Service • Iowa State University. Iowa State University. https://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2018/10/25/anxietyvga.
  • C. Scott, E. (2020, April 5). How Video Games Can Be Used for Stress Relief. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/how-video-games-relieve-stress-4110349.

About the author: Ms Aishwarya Verma is a graduate in clinical psychology. Currently, she is working as a counsellor at one of the renowned rehabilitation centres in India. She is one of the founders of an initiative called Feel.Share.Grow. that aims at providing counselling on an online platform to maximize the reach of mental health services to people to share and grow. Skilled at counselling, career assessments, and guidance, supportive psychotherapy, and research. Her goal is to start a clinical research centre to deliver care and support back to the community.